COLUMBUS, Ohio For the fourth-consecutive campaign, the No. 2 Ohio State men’s tennis team claimed the Big Ten regular-season championship Sunday after shutting out No. 30 Wisconsin, 7-0, at the Stickney Tennis Center on senior day. The Buckeyes (28-1; 10-0 Big Ten) followed the final Big Ten dual with a 4-0 win against Wright State at the Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center to complete the 2008-09 regular-season schedule. Ohio State has now won 20-consecutive matches this season, shutting out 15 of the last 19 opponents.
Senior tri-captains Ty Schaub, Steven Moneke and Bryan Koniecko were honored by Ty Tucker, head coach of the Buckeyes, in front of a home crowd after the Wisconsin match. The 2009 senior class has compiled 121 victories for the past four seasons, the most by any class in program history.
“It’s a sad day to see those three guys play some of their last home matches for Ohio State,” Tucker, who has has led the Buckeyes to 20 or more wins in eight of nine complete seasons at Ohio State, said. “At the same time, they’ve done a good job of helping to raise the program by taking it more seriously in each match. We start a new season now with championship season beginning and we just want to try to give our best performance possible out there. When you play around 35 matches in a season, sometimes you are not going to play your best, but as long as we continue to get quality guys like Ty, Steven and Bryan, we are going to be successful because they’ve played with heart.”
Ohio State finished the regular-season with a 14-0 record at home and has now won 87-consecutive matches on its home courts, which dates back to the 2003 season. The streak began with a 5-2 victory over Purdue April 6.
In Big Ten play, the Buckeyes finished the regular-season with a perfect 10-0 record in league action to mark the sixth Big Ten regular-season championship in program history. The Buckeyes have now won 50-consecutive matches against Big Ten opponents and are 101-5 in its last 106 league matches, including postseason play.
Highlighting the action Sunday was Koniecko, a native of Long Island, N.Y., in doubles. The two-time ITA All-American won both doubles matches against the Badgers and Raiders to become the program’s all-time career doubles leader with 119 victories. Against Wisconsin, Koniecko paired with sophomore Shuhei Uzawa at No. 3 doubles and defeated Patrick Pohlmann and Luke Rassow-Kantor, 8-4, to tie the record and claim the doubles point. Koniecko then paired with Schaub at No. 3 doubles against the Raiders and swept Brad Krick and Pip Rehg, 8-0. Koniecko passed former Buckeyes Ross Wilson (2003-06) and Drew Eberly (2005-08) with 118 wins and is now 28-3 in doubles this season.
“It was exciting during senior day to break the record and win the Big Ten regular-season for the fourth-consecutive year,” Koniecko said. “It’s been a pleasure to share it with my teammates, but we are looking forward to take it to the next level and do well at nationals. I played most of my doubles with Drew my freshman year and learning a lot from him has helped me improve my game over the years. I just hope to continue to get better in the future.”
Against the Badgers in doubles, No. 48 Moneke and sophomore Balazs Novak improved to 9-2 overall on the season with an 8-3 victory against Michael Muskievicz and Michael Dierberger, at No. 2 doubles to start the day for the Buckeyes.
No. 85 Matt Allare and Justin Kronauge had the only Buckeye match loss today at No. 1 doubles. The Buckeye duo was defeated by No. 19 Marek Michalicka and Moritz Baumann, 8-6.
In singles, No. 71 Balazs Novak improved his winning streak to 18-consecutive matches at No. 4 singles after defeating Rassow-Kantor, 6-1, 6-2. Novak is now 32-4 on the season with a 25-1 dual-match record.
No. 9 Steven Moneke added to his career singles wins record, downing Peter Marrack 6-1, 6-1, at No. 2 singles to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 advantage against the Badgers. Moneke went into break in the doubleheader with 134 career singles victories, which is first all-time in program history.
No. 107 Allare claimed the match for Ohio State against the Badgers, winning 6-1, 6-2 against Muskievicz at No. 6 singles. Allare is now 8-0 at No. 6 singles. Freshman Chase Buchanan won his fourth-consecutive match, defeating Dierberger 6-2, 6-3, at No. 5 singles and is now 6-3 in singles after joining the team in late March.
No. 23 Kronauge and No. 3 Koniecko rounded out singles play for the Scarlet and Gray with both Buckeyes winning in straight sets. Kronauge defeated Pohlmann 6-1, 6-2, while Koniecko downed No. 50 Michalicka 6-1, 7-5, at Nos. 2 and 1 singles, respectively. Koniecko’s win ties him for third all-time the career singles wins list with former Buckeye Roger Smith (1983-86) with 126 victories.
Against Wright State after Koniecko made history at No. 3 doubles to become the all-time career wins leader paired with Schaub, the Buckeyes had to battle back with both Nos. 1 and 2 Buckeye doubles pair trailing the Raiders respective duos. At No. 1 doubles, Allare and Buchanan won a break point in the 13th game, and went on to defeat Jan Alafriz and Mihkel Kruusmagi, 8-6, in an intense doubles match to claim the first point for the Ohio State.
In singles, the Buckeyes only needed to win three matches to clinch their 28th win on the season as play would conclude at four points. Ohio State did not take its time against the Raiders as each match quickly ended in straight sets.
No. 23 Kronauge improved to 34-7 on the season after defeating Alafriz, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. Kronauge now has a 23-4 dual mark in the 2009 spring season.
No. 9 Moneke downed Brian Dredge 6-1, 6-0 seconds after Kronauge and now has 135 career singles wins in his four-year span with the Buckeyes; the most by any student-athlete in the program’s history.
No. 107 Allare claimed the match again for Ohio State, winning 6-1, 6-3, against Landon Neuman at No. 3 singles. Allare, who is 8-0 at No. 3 singles, has now won a team-high 25-consecutive matches this season.
The Buckeyes now head into the postseason action, beginning with the Big Ten Championships April 23-26 in Ann Arbor. Ohio State will look to win its fourth-consecutive tournament title next weekend.
Tennis Match Final Results
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State
Apr 19, 2009 at Ohio State
Stickney Tennis Center
#2 Ohio State 7, #30 Wisconsin 0
1. #3 Bryan Koniecko (OSU) def. #50 Marek Michalicka (WISC) 6-1, 7-5
2. #23 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. Patrick Pohlmann (WISC) 6-1, 6-2
3. #9 Steven Moneke (OSU) def. Peter Marrack (WISC) 6-1, 6-1
4. #71 Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Luke Rassow-Kantor (WISC) 6-1, 6-2
5. Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. Michael Dierberger (WISC) 6-2, 6-3
6. #107 Matt Allare (OSU) def. Michael Muskievicz (WISC) 6-1, 6-2
1. #19 Marek Michalicka/Moritz Baumann (WISC) def. #85 Matt Allare/Justin Kronauge (OSU) 8-6
2. #48 Steven Moneke/Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Michael Muskievicz/Michael Dierberger (WISC) 8-3
3. Bryan Koniecko/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) def. Patrick Pohlmann/Luke Rassow-Kantor (WISC) 8-4
Wisconsin 15-8; 4-5 Big Ten; National ranking #30
Ohio State 27-1; 10-0 Big Ten; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,3,6,4,2,1)
Official: Vince Solomon T-3:30 A-150
Tennis Match Final Results
Wright State vs. Ohio State
Apr 19, 2009 at Ohio State
OSU Varsity Indoor Tennis Center
#2 Ohio State 4, Wright State 0
1. #9 Steven Moneke (OSU) def. Brian Dredge (WRST) 6-1, 6-0
2. #23 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. Jan Alafriz (WRST) 6-1, 6-0
3. #107 Matt Allare (OSU) def. Landon Neuman (WRST) 6-1, 6-3
4. #71 Balazs Novak (OSU) vs. Mihkel Kruusmagi (WRST) 6-2, unfinished
5. #97 Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) vs. Pip Rehg (WRST) 6-0, 4-0, unfinished
6. Steven Williams (OSU) vs. Brett Stewart (WRST) 6-0, 5-0, unfinished
1. Matt Allare/Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. Jan Alafriz/Mihkel Kruusmagi (WRST) 8-6
2. Balazs Novak/Mike O’Connell (OSU) vs. Brian Dredge/Landon Neuman (WRST) 7-7, unfinished
3. Bryan Koniecko/Ty Schaub (OSU) def. Brad Krick/Pip Rehg (WRST) 8-0
Wright State 5-14; 2-3 Horizon
Ohio State 28-1; 10-0 Big Ten; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,1,3)
Official: Vince Solomon